Tag Archives: romance

Review of Shades of Milk and Honey (Glamourist Histories #1), by Mary Robinette Kowal

I borrowed an audio copy of Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey through my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

Shades of Milk and Honey is an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men. 

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right–and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

Review:

This is the third book in a row that I’ve finished disappointed in. I found it uninspiring. Yes, I see all the Jane Austen parallels. But they didn’t endear the book to me. I thought Jane was a bit of a doormat. She seemed smart, so I was bothered that she’d kept forgiving her sister Melody. The sister who was basically just jealous and manipulative. 

The fortune hunter aspect was blatantly obvious. Again, Jane was smart. How was I really to believe she didn’t see the situation for exactly what it was?

A whole presumed romance was set up and then a marriage proposal came from someone the reader hadn’t been given to feel invested in. (Was that meant to be a twist? It just felt hollow.) Basically, despite being told Jane’s feelings for one man for an entire book, the fact that another had feelings for her was supposed to be enough to make it magical. Bah. Boring. 

The actual magic in the book was pointless. It would have made more sense for them to simply be artist, painters maybe. It was just clutter in the plot. 

Lastly, I really wish the author hadn’t chosen to do the audio version herself. She did a fine job in the narration sections, but lord the dialogue was stiff. It was painful combination of being written without contractions and the stilted way Kowal read it. I almost gave up several times.

Review of Mating the Huntress, by Talia Hibbert

I heard so many good things about Talia Hibbert‘s Mating the Huntress that I bought a copy, even though M/F paranormal erotica almost always does me wrong. (Spoiler, this one didn’t.)

Description from Goodreads:
Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off…

Review*:
Cute, fluffy, and funny
High on consent and female autonomy
Adorable-sexy is a thing and Luke is it

Depth is skipped to make it a novella and you feel it
Fairly low on the sizzle scale for an erotica (but not enough plot for a romance)


*My laptop battery died before I had a chance to review this book and it was several days before I remembered to come back and do it. So, we get a bullet-pointed version instead. It happens.

Review of Premeditated Peppermint (Amish Candy Shop Mystery #3), by Amanda Flower

I won a copy of Amanda Flower’s Premeditated Peppermint through Goodreads. Early November may seem an odd time to read a book set around Christmas, but I try to fill my Little Free Library with holiday books in December. So, I wanted to go ahead and get this read and added to the stock.

Description:
Christmas is Bailey King’s favorite time of year. For her first Yuletide in Harvest, Ohio, the former big-city chocolatier is recreating a cherished holiday treat: peppermint combined with molten white chocolate. But her sugar high plummets when her former boyfriend walks into the candy shop she now runs with her Amish grandmother. New York celebrity chef Eric Sharp and his TV crew have arrived to film an authentic Amish Christmas. Bailey’s not about to let her beloved town–and Swissmen Sweets–be turned into a sound bite. Unfortunately, she gets more publicity than she bargained for when Eric’s executive producer is found strangled to death–and Eric’s the prime suspect.

With Bailey’s sheriff deputy boyfriend out to prove Eric’s guilt, her bad-boy ex tries to sweet-talk her into helping him clear his name . . . and rekindle their romance to boost ratings for his show. Now, between a surplus of suspects and a victim who wasn’t who she seemed, Bailey’s edging dangerously close to a killer who isn’t looking to bring joy to the world–or to Bailey–this deadly Noel . . .

Review:
I can’t say I truly loved this. I suppose that if you’re really into cozy mysteries you might like it a bit more. Certainly, the writing is fine. (I thought a tad forced at times, with names used too often in dialogue. Mostly fine though.) However, I seriously disliked one of the characters, thought another was painfully cliche, and I had a serious issue with this being categorized as an Amish mystery.

Specifically Premeditated Peppermint calls itself an “Amish Candy Shop Mystery.” And while the argument could be made that the emphasis is on Amish Candy shop, not Amish mystery, I still think the selling point is meant to be that this is a book about Amish characters. There are Amish people in the book, but (and here’s my beef) THE MAIN CHARACTER IS NOT AMISH.

I suspect (though I don’t know) that Flower has some Amish connection in real life. The culture is treated respectfully and the book does address some of the difficulties of navigating non-Amish life as an Amish person. The rules and mores are repeatedly dismissed by outsiders as flexible, for example, and the main character is considered Amish by those same outsiders for her mere association with the community. While all that may be true, the Amish community is still just window dressing on the book. It’s what makes the world-building different from other cozy mysteries. And in the end, I was uncomfortable with it; side-eyeing and wondering where exactly the line of appropriation really is.

Outside of that big issue, I also thought it inappropriate Bailey inserted herself into a police investigation, thought the pushy mother shipping Bailey and her son before they’d even had a date too much to believe, and the mystery wasn’t hard to figure out at all. As a side note, I was able to follow it just fine without having read the previous books.

This is not to say the book is without merit. It was cute, had some good quips and is as squeaky clean as anyone could hope. It seems to have just not been the book for me.